49 Jail’s 5-star diet disgrace
VICTORIA’S youth prisons are meant to be a deterrent from committing crime. They are set up to keep dangerous offenders from the public and to punish them so they do not want to commit crimes again.
Those prisons are not, and should not, be comfortable, enjoyable and somewhere you want to be.
Which makes it more than a little alarming that as we reveal today, there is a move to make sure that these criminals are given the finest of food. Let us not forget the people the government wants better food for are the lowlifes that attack people in their homes, that kill, that maim and spread fear. They are enemies of the state who it has now been decided, need to have five-star food.
As today’s Sunday Herald Sun reveals, the move to fine dining has been uncovered in a tender document to provide meals at the Parkville and Malmsbury jails.
One can just imagine, the prison guard asking the vicious Apex gang member inside — “the chicken or the lamb, sir.’’ As the document reveals, for lunch a “young person can choose chicken or beef”. First-quality lamb, beef and pork were minimum requirements in the contract offer.
And caterers must make sure they provide no more than 10 per cent fat in their mince meat.
“Beef — first-quality approved yearling, not exceeding 10 per cent fat. Minced meat to be at least 90 per cent pure muscle. All beef must be boneless,” the tender document demands. So that means that the three-star mince sold at Coles would be off limits for our young crooks.
It is OK for the rest of us, but not those inmates, kept inside, at taxpayers’ cost. They apparently deserve better.
Only the four or five- star versions would be good enough for them, according to the tender requirements. One of the more shocking parts of the document is that prisoners must get a variety of food to “keep meals interesting”.
It goes on to say: “Individual menu items will not be repeated weekly and menu items are not to be repeated.”
Heaven forbid, you had to eat the same meal. That’s not on. What an absolute joke. While most Victorians are struggling to make ends meet with skyrocketing power prices, floods of water bills and ever increasing gas prices, our prisoners, the ones who attack us, who destroy lives, are being guaranteed a menu that is “interesting”.
We are not sure that the families of victims would be so concerned about these scumbags having an “interesting’’ menu.
No, as the families try to pick up their lives, they will be wondering how to move on. They will be wondering what is wrong with our society that it feels there is more concern for the rights of prisoners than there is for the victims.
We share those concerns because on the evidence we have uncovered today, it looks like the prisoner and the quality of life they have in jail is a major priority for the government.
Now we expect that the bleeding hearts out there will be thinking that making sure the prisoners have great meals is important for their chances of rehabilitation.
We expect there will also be some who will argue that if you give those inmates better meals, they will behave more.
Well — let’s not forget one fact here: these people in jail are criminals and they are there to be punished, not managed, not cajoled, not indulged.
They broke the law and therefore have forfeited all their rights.
Of course, this is not the first time we heard about largesse in the prison system. The Sunday Herald Sun revealed in May the bizarre gold, silver and bronze behavioural system in place at our youth jails.
As we told Victorians, the prisoners are literally bribed to behave under this soft system, which rewards them with takeaway pizza nights, violent video games and canteen cash.
And it must not be forgotten that this new “bribe to behave” system came in after the notorious $1 million riot at the Parkville prison.
Now we must acknowledge Premier Daniel Andrews did make an attempt to crack down on thug prisoners, opening up a unit at the Barwon Prison for the worst of the worst. Sadly, that plan was scuttled when the Supreme Court ruled that it was unlawful.
Today, though, the Andrews Government has another opportunity to send a message to our younger prisoners. It can intervene and put an end to this ridiculous tender document we have exposed.
The Andrews Government can show that it, like the rest of us, thinks this pedantic focus on five-star criminal dining is an outrage and a slap in the face to all Victorians.
If there is no action at all, then we have every confidence that the public will draw their own conclusions as to where the government’s priorities lie.